BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for September 4, 2011 - September 10, 2011

10 things we didn't know last week

17:13 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Female fiddler crabs are attracted to males who can wave well.
More details

2. The size of the ring finger is linked to the size of your sex drive.
More details (Daily Mail)

3. The Queen's swans get flu jabs.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

4. Lack of sleep leads to sugar cravings.
More details (CNN)

5. You need apermit to bring more than 2.2Ibs (one kilogram) of meat into Israel.
More details (Huffington Post)

6. Some people fear spiders, but spiders fear assassin bugs.
More details

7. Crocodiles go off their food when they're stressed.
More details (Guardian)

8. There is a one in 3,200 chance that bits of a Nasa satellite could hit someone this month when it plunges from orbit.
More details (Daily Mail)

9. Cliff sold more calendars than any other male celebrity last year.
More details (Guardian)

10. Forty percent of of active Twitter users do not tweet at all, they just follow other people.
More details (Newsbeat)

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week.

Your Letters

15:59 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

"Best headline" for a long time.
Rob Orme, Winsford, Cheshire

I bet she wasn't a'moose'd!
Di, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

"We've given up looking for survivors... after 160 years". Eveyone loves a trier.
Kirsty Nicol, East Lothian, Scotland

Whoever's job it is to create the non-answers for the weekly quiz, the "Crying" answer for "[blank] speeds up fat loss" put a massive grin on my face. Kudos. (2/7, sigh)
Andy, Balham, London

KJ (Thursday's Letters), I'm sure many other people will write in but there has actually been a woman Pope. I'll get my mitre.
Rob Orme, Winsford, Cheshire

John Bratby (Thursday's Letters): Nice try, but that study refers to 8-9 year olds. On the other hand, I'd be willing to bet that your wife is only saying you are bad at maths because she knows it annoys you, so no amount of supporting documents would help. I would suggest nonchalantly replying something like: "Whatever you say dear. I'd love to chat but I'm busy with this particle swarm optimisation algorithm." PS Of course those of us of a certain age can't look at 7x6 without thinking of the phrase: "Life, the universe and everything."
Ray, Turku, Finland

Popular Elsewhere

15:00 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.


Atlantic headline


What don’t people get about your job? Atlantic readers are getting it off their chest and a popular article let one person from an occupation from each letter of the alphabet have a rant. So there’s a referee who complains people don’t believe them when they say they don’t care who wins a game. And there’s the waiter explaining he has to pay if customers don’t tip. But which job begins with x? Atlantic have found a xenobiologist. That’s someone who studies what life outside our planets might be like. And this xenobiologist wants readers to know that possible aliens are not like in the movies.

Wired headline


Readers may be forgiven for not knowing much about the jobs in a popular Wired article. It lists jobs that barely existed before 9/11 - those that have cropped up in the 10 years of war which followed the attacks. Among them is the irony that unmanned aircrafts require pilots, albeit on the ground. And not all the jobs are at the forefront of technology. The US army also employs its own "war donkey handlers" to get equipment across Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.

Wall Street Journal headline

From new jobs over to new words at the Wall Street Journal. And the surprise continued growth of men’s fashion despite the economic downturn has brought with it a whole set of jargon. Readers are clicking on an article which says as men’s fashion increasingly get feminised, these garments need labels. Creating the correct lexicon for men’s clothes is easy – you just replace the first letter of the existing word with an m.

“Men can also wear ‘mandals’ (male sandals), ‘murses’ (purses), ‘mantyhose’ (pantyhose) and ‘mankinis’ (swimsuit variants) - though not necessarily all at the same time.”

It notes even President Obama has been getting into the act, sporting his own mandals.

Time headline


And a popular Time article makes you realise that a word like murse conveys quite a lot in one little word. This goes some way to explain why some languages sound faster than others. It turns out it isn’t just imagined, but a study from the University of Lyon found that we take the same amount of time to convey meaning, but some languages use more syllables than others to do that.

“The more data-dense the average syllable is, the fewer of those syllables had to be spoken per second - and the slower the speech thus was. English, with a high information density of .91, is spoken at an average rate of 6.19 syllables per second. Mandarin, which topped the density list at .94, was the spoken slowpoke at 5.18 syllables per second. Spanish, with a low-density .63, rips along at a syllable-per-second velocity of 7.82. The true speed demon of the group, however, was Japanese, which edges past Spanish at 7.84, thanks to its low density of .49.”

All of which took quite a lot of syllables to explain.

Paper Monitor

14:38 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

They're usually cute, often furry and most look good in pictures. Yep, there's an overdose of animal magic going on in today's papers.

The Times trumpeted the rise of the red squirrel on Brownsea Island after a 50-year effort to wipe out the rhododendron responsible for the rodent's demise.

The pink-flowered plants dominated the landscape, wiping out the food supply. That, along with a grey American cousin that subjected it to Squirrelpox. After that double whammy, the species was left in dire straits. Now more than 250 scurry around the Dorset nature reserve. Hurrah!

A known fan of cute animal pictures, the Daily Mail features a young red deer, presumably protecting itself from the danger of extinction, in London with a laurel wreath of ferns wrapped around its antlers. Ahhh.

The Times has the story of the clever Kandula, an elephant living in the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington. He is pictured having a "eureka moment" as he realised, after seven days, that nudging a crate under a fruit-bearing tree with his trunk and putting his two front legs on it means he can get at the fruit.

So, you may ask? Seven days does seem a rather long time to work that out. But this is the first evidence that pachyderms can solves problems, say researchers. He's "boxing clever" says the paper. Groan says Paper Monitor.

Another animals story in the Times is about French conservationists making an effort to revive the brown bear population in the Pyrenees. But one Frenchman's friend is a Spanish farmer's fury. The paper quotes a local authority spokesman: "Their presence only causes problems. France did not ask us if we wanted them."

Tough. Was the rhododendron asked its view on bringing back the red squirrel?

Caption Competition

12:57 UK time, Friday, 9 September 2011


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.
The competition is now closed. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

This week it's a giant lobster kite at the 25th annual Bristol International Kite Festival.

Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. Throbgusset
BBC Budget cuts force Dr Who production values to slip

5. Needlenoddlenoo
Ebeneezer! I am the ghost of last night's dinner!

4. Coach
I see Richard Branson has gone into business with Rick Stein.

3. Kudosless
You can get back in, Mr Walliams. They're not really that size.

2. Rogueslr
The Roswell Reenactment Society were pleased with their latest pagent.

1. Penny-farthing
In hindsight, the first generation of drone planes had been a little conspicuous.

Your Letters

15:26 UK time, Thursday, 8 September 2011

Re: Could the 2012 Paralympics erase the word 'disability'? And yet the London Underground, the key transport network (and frankly the only feasible one once London's streets are so full of visitors that buses are at a standstill) remains almost entirely inaccessible to people who can't use steps in zones 1 and 2 - and pretty inaccessible outside there. Some of the nearest stations to Olympic sites don't even have wheelchair access and Shepherd's Bush, recently subject to an expensive overhaul, didn't put in the lift as the project was over-budget by that point. In this day and age how is that allowed and how does this make the London games "the most accessible ever"?
Alex, London

Can anyone else spot the problem here? The egineering industry is after "good quality graduates" yet universities are producing sufficient number of "graduates". Maybe simply increasing the *number* of graduates is not the solution after all.
Colin Main, Berkhamsted, UK

Good - will someone now explain this to my wife, who insists I am bad at maths. I can do integration, differentiation, and write neural networks for a living - but because I can't remember what 7x6 is, or subtract 8 from 13 without using my fingers and toes, I'm bad at maths, apparently.
John Bratby, Southampton

I was surprised to see that Pope did not make the list for "10 glass ceilings yet to be shattered". Surely that office has been held by men for much longer than the others mentioned!
KJ, Indianapolis, USA

What did Stonehenge sound like 4,000 years ago? I don't know.
Hyder Pirwany @BBC News Magazine

"The new pictures should lay to rest conspiracy theories that the landings were shot in a Hollywood studio". No, the fact that several thousand people would have had to have been "in on it", and have *all* kept quiet all this time, should have laid rest to the conspiracy theories. Some people just love conspiracy theories, that's all.
John Bratby, Southampton

Popular Elsewhere

14:23 UK time, Thursday, 8 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

What's it like to be the most hated man in America? Well, for a start you need nine ex-Navy Seals surrounding you round-the-clock, says film maker Michael Moore in a popular Guardian article. He pinpoints the moment when he became so hated, when he was booed off stage at his Oscar acceptance speech questioning the war in Iraq.

From then, he says he got so much hate mail "it almost seemed as if Hallmark had opened a new division where greeting card writers were assigned the task to penning odes to my passing". The threat level increased and the ex-Seals were employed. Among Moore's many tales of watching his bodyguards thwart attacks was an attempt to stab him with a very sharp pencil, his bodyguard taking the hit. "You ever see a Navy Seal get stabbed?" he asks, "The look on their face is the one we have when we discover we're out of shampoo".

The Independent wonders if it has found Britain's laziest MP. Readers are drawn to an article about Labour MP for Middlesbrough Sir Stuart Bell. The paper says the MP had not held a surgery in his constituency for 14 years, instead conducting his affairs from his house a mile and a half outside the town centre. But another detail may also have caught readers' interest - the paper mentions Sit Stuart is an author of erotic fiction.

"A Mexican death cult is fuelling America's anti-immigration backlash" claims a popular Telegraph article. Tim Stanley says the cult of Santa Muerta - or as he likes to call it - "the patron saint of death for Mexican drug cartels" - keeps cropping up at crime scenes.

Most recently, an altar to the "skeletal figure of death" was found in a 300m tunnel which ran under the US border with Mexico. He describes Santa Muerta as "part Virgin Mary and part folk demon... a cloaked saint wielding a scythe". And for Stanley, its prominence goes some way to explaining anti-immigration feeling in the US.

Can you remember what happened the week before 9/11? While columnists debate the significance of 9/11, the Atlantic's most read story says it can be difficult to recall what else was happening in the daysjust before. To help jog the memory, it's selected some news stories from that week. There are two pictures of a happy-go-lucky looking George Bush with children, one at a baseball game and the other launching a literacy programme.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, eight foreign aid workers appeared at the Taliban's highest court to plead their case on charges they preached Christianity.

Paper Monitor

13:54 UK time, Thursday, 8 September 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Today, we speak in praise of quotes. News is full of facts, but there is great entertainment to be had in the things people say.

There's a prime example in today's coverage of Middlesbrough MP Stuart Bell, who is accused of not having had a surgery for 14 years.

The Independent sends an intrepid reporter onto the "boarded-up streets" of Middlesbrough and the first person he encounters, a 28-year-old bar worker, is the stuff of voxpop dreams.

"He has never walked these streets. With a bald head and a suit he'd get beat up - he'd be battered," says the barmaid, who believes - but cannot be sure - she voted for the chap at the election.

You can imagine the head of the local regeneration agency gently weeping into his cornflakes.

There is more in the Daily Mail, where there's a story about dangerous items that dangle from rear view mirrors.

The study lists: "Small pots, shamrock, a leprechaun, a camera, ceramic animals, furry dice, boxing gloves, a Margaret Thatcher doll, a turquoise peace sign charm and a miniature horse."

The man from the AA helpfully adds: "A large teddy bear could easily form a blind-spot to obscure sighting of a pedestrian or cyclist." Well, yes.

Inadvertent amusement isn't the only thing of course. Quotes can be poignant.

So is the case in the extraordinary story of 81-year-old Joy Tomkins in the Sun who got "do not resuscitate" tattooed onto her chest.

"When my time comes I do not want to end up half-dead, I want to be fully dead. I don't want my family to remember me as a lump."

The journalists could not say it better themselves.

Paper Monitor

17:13 UK time, Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Some people say it's every woman's prerogative to be late. The same applies to Paper Monitor.

And now we're here we want to scrutinise the press's scrutiny of the fairer sex. Germaine Greer it ain't.

The secret of Kate Winslet's hourglass figure is ruthlessly exposed by the Daily Mail. Under the headline "It's just an illusion", the piece reveals that our Kate's voluptuous but slim figure is caused by "cunning black panels" that slice inches off her waist.

The Mail is delighted though at the number of "ladies of a certain age" who will take part in Strictly Come Dancing. It's "Strictly Cougars" announces the Daily Mirror, before salivating over a "showdown of the 60s-something glamour pusses".

Those set to sparkle include the "immaculately preserved" Lulu, Edwina Currie who is "game to strut her stuff", and the "never knowingly under-dressed" Nancy Dell'Olio.

Meanwhile the Sun gives prominent coverage to Peter Crouch's belle Abbey Clancy who "cuts a sensational figure in a string bikini" during a family holiday in Italy.

Further inside, the paper snipes at female stars who were out and about last night. Kelly Brook "must have used a whole tube of Colgate to perfect that Hollywood smile", while PJ Harvey is mocked over wearing all white at the Mercury Music Awards.

"The bookies favourite would have needed a healthy supply of Daz to get a stain out of this spotless white dress."

There is even lingerie advice for any Geordie football fans. The paper reveals that Newcastle United has brought out a range of "sexy" new lingerie, including a French Maid's outfit, in the club's black and white colours. Paper Monitor wonders if the club has got Wor Jackie mixed up with Phwoar Jackie.

Exhausted by the objectivisation of the sisterhood, we are going to lie down with a copy of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex.

Your Letters

15:35 UK time, Wednesday, 7 September 2011

I'm disappointed. I read this story, expecting an improved version of this :-)
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

How many woman read the nightcap article but stopped before quantities where established?
Mel, London

"The new pictures should lay to rest conspiracy theories that the landings were shot in a Hollywood studio". Hmm, I don't necessarily buy into these conspiracy theories, but using photos from NASA to prove NASA is telling the truth about something is surely a little flawed.
Tom Webb, Surbiton, UK

The cult of tan: When did tanned become the new norm? I blame George Hamilton.
Candace Sleeman @BBC News Magazine

Given the Grange Hill questions in this quiz, surely the middle result should have been 'Scruffy McGuffy'?
Richard, Newport, Wales

Gary (Tuesday's Letters), whilst amusing it is no more; it is now Fujitsu, Staines.
John, Surrey

Popular Elsewhere

15:29 UK time, Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

The rising number of offspring from single sperm donors is causing alarm in a popular New York Times article. While sperm donors remain anonymous, they are given unique identifying numbers. This has allowed half siblings to track each other on the web. One group of 150 half siblings have started to meet up. The article explains that although other countries limit how many children a sperm donor can father, there is no such limit in the United States, something critics are calling for.

As the most read lists across news sites slowly get overtaken by reflections of 9/11, every angle seems to be covered. A popular Boston Globe story has found one person who got to know the victims' families better than others. Ken Feinberg was in charge of distributing $7bn (£4.4) of government-funded settlements to the families of the dead and those who were injured. For him, one person stuck out: an elderly woman whose son died who turned down $2m (£1.3m) because it wouldn't bring him back. She was one of only two people who turned down the money.

Yoga instructors are meant to be calm. So the rant of instructor Sarah Miller have drawn in Guardian readers. The problem, she complains, is people who do yoga are, well, annoying.

"'How are you?" is not a simple question at yoga. No one at yoga is ever just fine. They're 'working through a lot of heavy stuff', or 'dealing with a lot of craziness'. That said, when people ask you how you are, don't say anything bad. If you are broke, the universe is just trying to teach you a lesson about how much you already have. If someone dumped you, the universe removed that person from your life for a reason. The universe is very busy in the yoga world."

Her tip is to wear flip-flops to ensure a quick get-away at the end of the lesson.

The award for the quirkiest headline on the most read lists goes to Wired. 'Invisibility Cloak' Makes Tanks Look Like Cows is attracting their readers. It explains technology developed for warfare makes tanks invisible in the infra-red spectrum. It does this by appearing to change temperature and using cameras which then mimic the surroundings. So this invisibility cloak will make tanks look like cows, if cows are around.

Your Letters

15:15 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I would've kicked him off the plane for having 1 really long weird looking finger.
Simon Love, London

Re: Paper Monitor. "A heart-warming story but the Sun takes it a step further and has compiled a list of beefed-up artists who might be found at the National Grillery, such as Mincent Van Gogh, Rumpbrandt and Meatisse. Paper Monitor's personal favourite? Saveloy Dali. Genius." Please add to this list - Robert Raushenberger.
Simon Love, London

These new words are clearly tweologisms.
Kirsty Nicol, East Lothian, Scotland

"In 1840, the broken wreckage was destroyed by the Royal Engineers in a huge controlled explosion that shattered windows as far away as Portsmouth and Gosport." It doesn't seem that 'controlled' an explosion!
Basil Long, Nottingham

Brian (Monday's Letters), you'll also be amused to learn that Siemens have an office in Staines, Middlesex.
Gary Moore, Pulborough, UK

Colin (Monday's Letters), my colleagues and I were betting we'd find one on Scafell Pike and one on Ben Nevis.
Joseph, London

Popular Elsewhere

15:14 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

Discover magazine's readers are flocking to find out what is the worst mistake in the history of the human race. Here's a clue: it caused social and sexual inequality and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. The answer is a little unpredictable: agriculture.

Discover says archaeologists are now arguing hunter-gatherers may have got things right. In contrast, agriculture, far from being progress, may be the end of us. "We're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."

"Those greedy baby boomers" is the tone of a well read LA Times article. It says that 47 to 65-year-olds plan not to leave an inheritance.

It's not just because people are feeling the pinch either - the paper quotes a survey of millionaire "boomers" by investment firm US Trust which found only 49% said it was important to leave money to their children when they die. However, it points out some think their children will still get something "since nobody can synchronize their demise precisely to the emptying of their bank accounts".

It seems Slate readers are reading almost exclusively about the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How the subject is treated really does move across the spectrum - from a recounting of the events in cartoon form to Christopher Hitchens' account that the events made him reflect on his role as a "public intellectual".

Only one woman seems to pull Slate readers away from 9/11 and she goes by the name Rachel Held Evans. She is an evangelical blogger and attempting to live a whole year following all the Bible's instructions for women as precisely as possible. But the article says she has come up against criticism from within Christianity. This, she says, "goes to show at some level there's a fear of exposing what it means to follow the Bible literally".

A happy worker may seem a luxury in the current climate, says a widely emailed New York Times article, but it can be the difference which ensures a company's survival. That's because, the article says, lower job satisfaction foreshadows poorer bottom-line performance.

Writers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramerhave have been studying workers, and witnessed a trend in an unhappier workforce. They've gone as far as to call it a disengagement crisis. They explain when people don't care about their jobs or their employers, they don't show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers. And the writers have a price tag for their crisis too - a "staggering" $300bn (£186bn) in lost productivity annually".

And finally, the winner of the case study with an apt name goes to a popular Time article. Marqueta Bourgeois talks about her plight as homeless but middle class.

Paper Monitor

11:19 UK time, Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

As the late Roy Castle used to sing: "Dedication's what you need if you want to be a record breaker."

And Sonya Thomas is the epitome of dedication, all seven stone (44kg) of her. The diminutive lady is a champion eater and is dubbed the Black Widow for her ability to beat male competitors.

Anyway, the Daily Mail says she has retained her crown by devouring a world record 183 chicken wings in 12 minutes. That amounts to 2.2kg of meat. But just where does she put it? All over her face judging by the pictures.

The paper says Thomas, from the US state of Virginia, is a manager in Burger King (wonder what its profits are like?) and she holds records for eating the most jalapeno peppers, clams, oyster, soft tacos and chicken tenders. In separate contests obviously.

Now the only story likely to beat a small woman stuffing her face is a record-breaking, sweet-as-cherry-pie dog.

The papers love Harbor the coonhound, who has been awarded a 2012 Guinness World Record for the longest ears on a living dog.

He looks more hare than hound with his ears, which measure 30in (76cm) from tip to tip, including his head. His left ear is 12.25in, while his right ear is even longer at 13.5in. Fortune usually follows fame and no doubt the film and television jobs will still rolling in. Paper Monitor thinks Harbor would make a great Timotei model.

Richard Firth is another world leader. The former butcher from Hull has become a top maritime artist after teaching himself with a beginners' painting-by-numbers kit.

His seascapes now sell for up to £40,000 a piece in auction houses across the globe, including Christie's of New York.

A heart-warming story but the Sun takes it a step further and has compiled a list of beefed-up artists who might be found at the National Grillery, such as Mincent Van Gogh, Rumpbrandt and Meatisse.

Paper Monitor's personal favourite? Saveloy Dali. Genius.

Your Letters

15:38 UK time, Monday, 5 September 2011

I can't be the only one that spotted the third tigers face on the first photo
Jo, Bedford

Did anyone else see this and think Jeremy Clarkson?
Colin Main, Berkhamsted, UK

I'm confused by Lucy Kellaway's use of "swash" in this article. A quick online search informed me that swash is (among other things) a turbulent layer of water washing up a beach after an incoming wave has broken, a typographical flourish on a glyph, and a cloting label. None of these seem to match Ms Kellaway's useage. Has she combined "swat" and "dash" in the same way Richard Hammond once combined "shiny" and "bright"?
Howard, London, UK

Monday's Random Stat. That's one heck of an insomniac who was able to arrive that number. But how do we know the number's accurate? What if he/she fell asleep before finishing countinzzzzzzzzzzzzzz?br />Aqua Suliser, Bath

I was amused to see the machines referred to in number 4 of 10 things we didn't know last week are made by Siemens
Brian Saxby, Chicago, USA

Shiz (Friday's Letters), that's uncanny: I have all those things, although the African fertility statue is only 5ft.
Andrew Guest, London

GDW (Friday's Letters), doing a U-turn in a tram would be pointless anyway, as they can be driven from either end
Tim, London

Popular Elsewhere

14:47 UK time, Monday, 5 September 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

It's the stuff of crime novels. Eleven severed feet in running shoes have appeared on the shores of British Columbia in the past four years. For some it would be a great mystery to solve and reportedly high-profile crime experts from all over the world have been weighing in. But according to a Daily Beast article that's attracting readers, police shouldn't be on the look out for a serial killer just yet. Writer Winston Ross suggests the feet have separated themselves from the bodies of people who have jumped off bridges, rose due to the buoyancy of their shoes and ended up in the same place because of river currents.

Harvard's a bargain if you're from the UK, declares an article Time readers are drawn to. It charts a "dramatic increase" in students from British public schools like Eton and Westminster to Harvard and Princeton instead of Oxford or Cambridge. So big is the trend that top schools have special US advisers to help students deal with the process. It suggests tuition fees may make American universities a more attractive option, but the trend pre-dates an increase in fees. Another theory is that US universities are letting in sporty students who may otherwise be rejected by Oxbridge. "Of the 30-odd Harvard applicants from the UK admitted to the class of 2014, six are varsity heavyweight rowers," it says.

Days before the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks readers are being drawn towards articles looking at the legacy of the attacks.

Guardian readers are clicking on the story of the tower being built on Ground Zero. It's only two thirds complete but already stands at 80 floors and will eventually be taller than the Empire State Building. And the article says it's a huge relief as "to have had nothing to show a decade after the attacks would have been an enormous embarrassment for New York and for America".

Project Syndicate readers are catching up on Joseph Stiglitz's attempt to come up with a price tag for the 9/11 attacks. Three years ago the economist argued the reaction - going to war - cost more than $3tn (£1.9tn). But he says the cost continues to grow as disability payments of returning troops mount.

And a slightly less predictable legacy is suggested in a popular Washington Post article. It says that the decade of warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq following the attacks is the reason for the immense popularity of the computer game Call of Duty. The link, it argues, is down to a changing attitude to war.

Paper Monitor

10:28 UK time, Monday, 5 September 2011

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

'Tis the season to be jolly (about calendars). Yes, the Daily Mail has kicked it off with a page three stunner (or page turner depending on your tastes). No it's not Kylie Minogue or Kelly Brook - it's the 2012 offering from Cliff Richard.

The paper gives the reader a little taster on its front page and it's a cowboy Cliff wearing chaps. Yee ha! Turn over and there's the 70-year-old playing basketball, having a massage and frolicking with a dolphin. Bar the massage, he could seriously give the Russian Prime Minister/all-round action man Vladimir Putin a run for his money.

Cliff will be 71 in October and apparently the month of the year you are born could have an impact on your life. Using the last census, the Office of National Statistics has analysed the birth months of people in 19 different occupations.

December had an above average number of dentists and messiahs, while March is good for pilots and musicians. And if you don't want a serial killer, avoid November. October babies are likely to live the longest, so there will no doubt be a Cliff calendar in 2050.

Every paper loves a U-turn and this one really is a U-turn as it involves motoring and Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson.

The Daily Star says the outspoken presenter is never one to hold back and he has, in the past, been scathing of sat-navs. Just one example: "I still haven't found a sat-nav that knows the M40 exists."

But he is the new voice of a sat-nav. He claims it's "not a gentle sat-nav voice" and there will be a silent Stig option, for those who do not want a rough ride.

And finally, Paper Monitor has put this date in its calendar in CAPITAL letters. The Daily Express says this Friday is Pippa Middleton's Bottom Appreciation Day.

So get the bunting out and start baking some fairy cakes. But on second thoughts, perhaps a pilates class or a few buttock clenches might be more in keeping with the spirit of the day.

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